Taiwanese tourists booking rooms in Japan rise threefold

By Kan Chih-ch and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Jan 05, 2016 - Page 5

The number of Taiwanese travelers booking hotel rooms in Japan for this year’s Lunar New Year holiday has increased threefold compared with last year, said Rakuten Travel, the tourism division of the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.

The number of hotel reservations made by Taiwanese for the spring holiday season has increased by 324.8 percent from the same period last year, the company said, adding that Taiwanese have made the most of reservations in Japan, surpassing visitors from Hong Kong, Thailand, China and Singapore.

For the second year in a row, Hokkaido has seen the largest increase in the number of Taiwanese visitors, with hotel reservations for this year’s Lunar New Year growing by 157.1 percent from last year, the company said.

Hokkaido’s Sapporo Snow Festival and the opening of the first stage of the Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed rail in March are likely to boost the number of Taiwanese and Japanese tourists in the region, Rakuten said.

Demand for hotel rooms in Hokkaido Prefecture’s capital, Sapporo, prior to the snow festival appeared to have spilled over to cities at the prefecture’s outskirts, the company said, adding that reservations in Noboribetsu and Hakodate this year have increased by 376.9 percent from last year.

TransAsia Airways announced that it is to increase the number of weekly flights from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Sapporo, Asahikawa and Hakodate to 14 from seven and that the number of seats are to be increased by replacing the single-aisle jets with Airbus A330 planes, which have a capacity of 300 passengers.

EVA Airways said that it has 22 weekly flights from Taoyuan to Sapporo, Asahikawa and Hakodate, with a typical seat occupancy of 80 percent that rises to as high as 90 percent during holiday seasons.